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HART board member Kathleen Shanahan latest to call for abolishing PTC

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The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission’s vote last week to approve new rules that could compel ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft to leave the area has given new life to those who believe the agency should be abolished. The latest entrant in that camp is HART board member Kathleen Shanahan, who, in a letter published in Monday’s Tampa Bay Times, invokes the U.S. Constitution in arguing why the PTC should not be imposing any rules on the transportation network companies. “The…

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Jack Latvala says his GOP colleagues have their “heads in the sand when it comes to transportation”

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Incoming Florida Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Latvala said Friday a lack of mass transit in the Tampa Bay area has become a bigger problem than ever, and he blasted his fellow Republicans in Tallahassee for failing to lead on the issue. “We’ve got a lot of folks in my party that just bury their head in the sand when it comes to transportation,” the always outspoken Clearwater Republican said, addressing dozens of people who gathered at 8 a.m. to hear him speak at the weekly “Cafe…

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Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn confront each during WMNF radio debate

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During a radio debate Thursday, House District 68 Democrat Ben Diamond challenged what exactly his opponent, Eric Lynn has done in the community, while Lynn turned around to question Diamond’s independence when it comes to the insurance industry. Those two exchanges came toward the conclusion of a 38-minute debate on Tampa radio station WMNF 88.5 this afternoon, when the two candidates were allowed to question each other in a debate moderated by this reporter (listen here). The two St. Petersburg-based Democrats are challenging each…

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Jeff Brandes disagrees with Al Sharpton’s critique of Amendment 4

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Unlike that other solar power constitutional amendment that Floridians will decide on in the fall, seemingly everyone supports Amendment Four, the only ballot measure on this month’s primary ballot. Virtually everyone that is, except Al Sharpton. The New York City-based activist and MSNBC host bashed the measure while making an appearance last week in Opa-Locka. Amendment Four would create a tax exemption for businesses who use solar power, the same type of exemption that homeowners have enjoyed when using solar for the…

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Mitch Perry Report for 8.17.16 – Impeachment memories

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Before Barack Obama was elected, a lot of political observers said that with such a divided nation, every president could face the potential of being impeached. I’m reminded of that today on the 18th year anniversary of Bill Clinton giving a prime-time address to the nation after seven months of silence on the Monica Lewinsky matter. “I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression. I misled people, including even my wife,” he said…

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Jeff Vinik, Jeff Brandes discuss future of Tampa Bay transportation at HART summit

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In the future of transportation in Hillsborough County, buses and rail may be taking a back seat to autonomous vehicles and other cutting-edge technologies. Although the Hillsborough Area Transit Authority (HART) primarily offers bus service, buses weren’t the focus of attention at the “State of Transit” event Tuesday at CAMLS in downtown Tampa. Nor should they have been, as the theme of the day was “Beyond the Bus.” No speaker in the hour-plus session was more visionary on transportation’s future in the…

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Bus ridership down in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in 2016

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In what almost seemed like a monthly occurrence in recent years, the PR staffs of both the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit agency (HART) and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) were regularly issuing out press releases touting record ridership numbers. That is definitely not the case in 2016. Speaking at the agency’s Finance and Audit Committee meeting Monday, HART CEO Katherine Eagan said ridership in 2016 is down some “five to six percent” in the current fiscal year, a trend she said is…

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